Pictures of Sponge Painting Walls in My Mother-in-Law's Bathroom

Portion of sponge painted wall with mirrored reflection

Portion of bathroom
Portion of bathroom | Source

Faux Painting

Sponge painting my mother-in-law's bathroom transformed a very dated look into something more contemporary.

My husband and I were in a retail store one day when a portion of the store was being painted and then ragged. The woman doing the ragging (a faux finishing technique) explained how she was accomplishing the project as to the thinning of the paint and how she handled the actual ragging process and we were watching her while she was actually doing the work.

After seeing the end result, I thought that I might try doing it. We had painted many a room and the outside of our house while living in Wisconsin (for that matter) so were very familiar with painting.

Faux finishing was just a new way of applying paint to get a different type of look.

How to Sponge Paint a Wall

Before and after sponge painting photos

Before picture of bathroom
Before picture of bathroom | Source
After picture of bathroom
After picture of bathroom | Source

Current trends

Faux finishing of walls was fairly new when my husband and I offered to do some repainting of walls at my mother-in-law's home in San Antonio. She, unlike us, did not spend her time looking at newly constructed homes.

Often there are newer subdivisions which have a Tour of Homes.

Completely decorated with furniture and accessories and open for viewing for a specific time frame, the ticket prices to go through the homes are given to a specific charity. Thus one can have a good time while also helping a charitable cause.

The homes are for sale as is the furniture and the designers are usually on hand to talk to the people if they have any questions. The builders are also there to discuss their custom homes with potential customers who may wish to learn more details about that specific home that they are viewing or to learn about having that builder construct a different one for them.

It is a good opportunity for the builders and designers to possibly pick up new customers for their services.

As just a form of entertainment for the vast majority of people attending a home tour, it is also an easy way to stay abreast of new trends.

Faux finishing of walls with various techniques has been popular now for many years and we saw numerous examples of different treatments and unique effects brought about by the use of nothing more than paint while we were attending those home tours.

Sponge Painting in multiple colors

Sponge Painting (Looks like this guy is having fun!)

More before and after sponge painting photos

Before picture in bathroom
Before picture in bathroom | Source
After picture in bathroom
After picture in bathroom | Source
After picture in bathroom
After picture in bathroom | Source
After picture in bathroom
After picture in bathroom | Source

Ragging and Sponging

As a gift to my mother-in-law my husband and I offered to repaint her living room many years ago. She was delighted!

She would have hired someone to do it for her but she also knew that we were accomplished at doing that task as she had seen the results in the houses in which we had lived. Thus she felt confident in the eventual outcome of the new look.

However...she had never heard of ragging.

On one short wall in her living room, I offered to rag the wall to offer a contrast to the rest of the room.

This was the first time I would be practicing this new technique since viewing it in that store with my husband!

She was dubious but trusted my sense of style and artistry.

We also assured her that if she did not like it, we would repaint the wall to match the she had little to lose.

Moving the upright piano away from the wall, I began the ragging process after the first background coat of paint had dried. My husband was helping with the regular painting, but I would be the one to do the faux finishing.

Now I will admit...for someone who had never seen the end result of such an endeavor, it does look a bit crazy especially in the beginning of the ragging process.

My mother-in-law took one look at it and to say that she was dubious was an understatement!

The color was only a few shades lighter than the background wall color so would be a muted look that only gave a hint of a difference when dried. When I saw her trying to evaluate whether she liked the look of the wall in progress, I reminded her that when it was dry...if she did not like it...the wall would be repainted.

That gave her some confidence to let me continue that first of what would become many ragging and faux finishing projects ahead in not only her home, but my mother's home and ours as well.

Mission accomplished!

My mother-in-law truly liked her newly painted and decorated living room and it drew many compliments from her friends and relatives. She even invited her next door neighbors in to see the ragged wall because they also had never heard of that type of painting.

When that living room turned out to be such a success, we offered to transform her very outdated bathroom into a more modern look by sponge painting it.

By now, she had more confidence and with the assurance that it could also be repainted if she did not like the outcome, we proceeded to take that old wallpaper off of the walls.

Once again, she really liked the new fresher look and was inspired to purchase a new blind and curtain for the window treatment.

A new shower curtain completed the look.

Before and after pictures included in this post tell the story better than mere words.

How to sponge a wall

How to add decorative painting to any room - The Home Depot

Have you ever faux finished a wall or other object?

  • I have sponge painted
  • I have ragged
  • I have marbelized or used some other faux finishing technique
  • No...I'll leave that to the experts
See results without voting

Cloud Sponging Technique (Something a little different for making cards, etc.)

If you can paint a wall, you can faux finish a wall.

Google the many sites which offer information or "how to" videos. Visit paint stores where you can pick up literature as well as supplies which make the projects easier and understandable.

When we watched that lady ragging the wall in the retail establishment many years ago, she thinned the paint she would be utilizing to rag the wall with about 9 parts of water. Using a broad paint brush she stroked the paint onto the already painted and dried wall and it immediately began dripping. Using her crumpled rag she started dabbing it in different directions. Each stroke applying new paint was applied in random patterns as was her hand using the ragging technique.

Most videos suggest using glazes instead of water. Water works just fine depending upon the look one desires.

If one desires a bit of a shine as the undercoat, use a gloss or semi-gloss paint. Want that look on top? Use a flat paint as the first coat and use a semi-gloss to rag or sponge paint.

A quart of paint goes a long way when sponging or ragging because of thinning it out with water or glazes to various consistencies.

Don't be afraid to try these techniques for yourself. The cost is minimal and the impact can be as subtle or as strong as one desires. Do try it out first in a small area to make sure you like it.

Experiment with the paints. You are in total control! Try a darker look over a lighter base coat or vice versa. Try multiple colors.

The dried look is always different than when it is still wet. So keep that in mind and allow for drying time when testing the colors you think you wish to utilize.

Oh...and DO finish one entire room (or if doing one wall...the entire wall) at one time. It is sometimes hard to blend an area once completely dried with a new wet one. I learned that the hard way and had to re-do an entire room one time starting from scratch!

My mother-in-law was delighted with the sponge painting I did in her bathroom those many years ago as well as the ragging done on her living room wall. Are you inspired to faux paint a room for someone in your family or faux finish one of your own walls?

Have you ever entertained the thought of sponge painting a room?

  • Yes, and I have already done it!
  • I've thought about it but have not yet done it.
  • After seeing these videos and explanation, I'm ready to tackle this project!
  • I'll hire someone to do it if I decide I want it done.
See results without voting

Where my mother-in-law lived at the time...

A markerSan Antonio -
San Antonio, TX, USA
[get directions]

© 2010 Peggy Woods

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Comments 44 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 24 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

It is amazing what can be done with faux finishing techniques. I once marbilized some gourds and have also done some ragging and other painting techniques. The effects can be quite beautiful.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

A faux finish can be amazing in its effect and there are so many different ones. They can be used on so many different surfaces and materials. I've done a lot of painting over the years but never tried this. I was going to put a faux marble top on a table, but I never got to it. Had everything to do it with . . .

Voted up, BUI, posted to FB, pinned to my 'Art & Interior Design' board, and will share on HP.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi RTalloni,

For people who have never seen the final effects of faux finishing, when one just begins to transform a wall, it is hard to imagine the end result. At least that was my mother-in-law's reaction. She ended up loving her new sponge painted bathroom and the ragged living room wall. Thanks for your comment. :)

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

It is amazing what a sponge and a little paint can do! The story of your mom-in-law's initial dubiousness makes me smile because I've seen narrowed eyes many times. :) The effects can be endless as shown in the videos you've included. Neat stuff!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Charlu,

That was now many years ago when I did that sponge painting of my mother-in-law's bathroom. I have ragged quite a few walls in several people's homes and faux finished one at my mother's home actually using dried stalks of a firecracker bush. It ended up looking like wallpaper! Really pretty! Thanks for your comment on this hub as well as your votes. :)

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